One of the most imposing Mercedes Benz cars of all time hit the road in 1963, specifically designed to compete with Rolls-Royces and the most beautiful top-of-the-range American limousines.

The Mercedes-Benz 600 was a large, luxurious car that was intended to be chauffeur driven, as most models had a powered divider window that separated the driver and passenger compartments.

e This impressive car was also meant to illustrate the fact that Mercedes was capable of delivering unbeatable engineering excellence.

Two types of 600 were produced. - these were were short-wheelbase four-door saloons that came with or without the divider.

While these were impressive vehicles in their own right, the true splendour of this magnificent machine was evidenced in the long-wheelbase Pullman 600s.

The Mercedes Benz 600 Pullmans came in three forms, all of them fitted with a divider for those who wanted privacy in the passnger compartment.

There was a four-door limousine that had two rear-facing seats in addition to the central passenger bench.

Secondly there was the six-door limousine, which also had extra seating, and finally, ultra-rare landaulets — six-door Pullmans with a convertible rear section designed for ceremonial use by royalty or heads of state in the days before open cars were deemed a potentially lethal security risk.

The 600 was, of course, massive.

The sheer size of the car necessitated the use of a gigantic 6.3-litre V8 power plant that was specially developed in-house for the task.

That kind of power not only enabled the weighty limo to outperform pretty much everything up to Porsche 911 level but also supported an array of hydraulic-powered features that included ultra-smooth air suspension (the 600's body almost touched the ground before the engine started), windows, moveable seats and automatically closing doors and boots.

Designed with the elite and wealthy in mind, the Mercedes-Benz 600 had a long and sleek body that supported a spacious interior ideal for business travelling, in spite of its big body, the 600 recorded an impressive top speed of 200 km/h and acceleration from 0-100 km/h in just 9.7 seconds.

The petrol-powered engine was stable and reliable as it put out 300bhp of power, an awesome acheivment for a Sixties vehicle.

As was to be expected, the 600’s interior was finished to the highest possible level.

Leather upholstery was the order of the date, while the 600 came fitted with every item of modern technology available to make for the best possible passenger experience.

Although a few 600s continued to be produced until the official discontinuation date of 1981, production effectively ended in 1972 when the oil crisis made these “gas-guzzling “monsters seem a trifle ostentatious and therefore somewhat unfashionable.

The Mercedes-Benz 600 has never lost its rank among the top classic and luxurious vehicles of the Sixties.

As a result of the model’s apparent opulence and reliability, it naturally appealed to celebrities.

Typical 600 owners included Russian premier and avid car collector Leonid Brezhnev, Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, ultimate “playboy” Hugh Hefner, two members of the Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison.

Other high profile owners included “ the King” Elvis Presley from the world of music and Elizabeth Taylor and Jack Nicholson from the movie industry.

The 600 was also the ride of choice for heads of states in “ emerging nations” of the World among them Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Mao Tse Tung with probably the best known Mercedes Benz 600 of all time was that owned by Idi Amir of Uganda.

During its 18 year production run from 1963 to 1981, a total of 2677 Mercedes 600s were produced, with just over 400 of them the long-wheelbase six-door Pullman version.

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